Along with television and radio commercials, web banners and outdoor boards, comedian Norm Macdonald will also be featured in a made-for-web video series. These “Street Smarts” shorts feature Macdonald making humorous observations about driving and car insurance in his trademark style. New editions will be released on a regular basis throughout the summer.
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Norm Macdonald SafeAuto
Manual transmissions have a lot to offer the experienced driver. They have better fuel economy, they last longer than automatics, they extend your brake life, and, of course, they allow for better performance, since you can time exactly when you switch gears.
Nonetheless, the manual is on the way out: only 3.9% of all auto sales in 2011 included a manual transmission. In fact, the majority of new models, 64%, don't even offer a manual transmission option. But there is a small bright spot for manual fans: sales have been climbing for their preferred transmission lately.
As we mentioned, manual transmissions are generally a cheaper option. It starts with fuel economy, which is better with a manual for several reasons. To start, you have more control over the vehicle, which is especially important when you're downshifting or straining the engine. Automatic transmissions are improving all the time, but they're still far from perfect, and thus create some real problems when your car is dealing with a lot of work.
Another aspect is how automatic transmissions are built. Most use a torque converter or v-belt to do the job of a clutch on the manual transmission. The problem is that these tend to slip much more often than a clutch pedal, although locking torque converters are starting to bridge the gap. In addition, automatics need more cooling elements, pumps, and other parts that create a power drain and siphon off that little bit more of gas.
How much gas do you save? Well, if you use the manual properly, scientists estimate between 5 and 15%. That's pretty appealing if you spend a lot on gas.
Frugality Then there’s the other part that appeals to the thrifty driver: Manual transmissions are much easier to fix when they break, and are less likely to break in the first place. This is, pure and simple, due to the fact that an automatic clutch just has more moving parts, and many of those parts are complex. Modern automatics have a computer coordinating all the systems of the car with many sensitive sensors and parts. It's really a Jenga game: all it takes is one wrong piece and the whole system can go out of whack. Manual transmissions are much simpler to repair and thus cost less. This can even reduce auto insurance costs, depending on the vehicle.
So for the frugal, this has appeal.
What Does the Future Hold? Unfortunately for you stick shift lovers, you shouldn't expect this trend to continue. Not many people really enjoy using a manual in the first place, despite the cost savings. Automatics are much easier to use and require much less concentration, and they don't require you to make sure you're constantly in gear. There's also the infamous stopping on hills problem, which manuals have just never quite licked.
In short, manual transmissions can save you money. But you've got to be willing to work for it, and not many people are willing to pay the cost. Especially since it can be made up in other areas: for example, the Toyota Prius comes only in automatic and can't be engineered with a manual due to its hybrid nature.
In short, enjoy your stick shift. It may not be around for much longer.
Tags: safauto, safe auto, stick shift, manual transmission
Times are tight. We understand that at SafeAuto, which is why we focus on "minimum cost" insurance. You shouldn't have to pay a lot to get out on the road.
People are always asking us how low we can get our auto insurance rates, so here are some tips from the practical to the... not so much.
- Buy a car that nobody wants to steal and is as safe as humanly possible. Limiting insurance costs is all about limiting risk, both to yourself and your vehicle. If your car is unlikely to get stolen and unlikely to kill you, we're less likely to have to pay out your policy... so we'll ask you for less money to keep it.
- If that doesn't work for you... drive a junker. Seriously. Most older cars just aren't worth that much, so you can get away with insuring them to your state minimum requirements and absolutely nothing else. Of course, this can put you in a situation where it makes more sense to total your car than to perform basic repairs.
- Drive your car as little as possible. The less time you spend on the road, the less chance you'll get in a wreck. Carpool with friends to work, have grocery-shopping trips with friends, and so on. The less time your car is on the road, the cheaper your insurance will be.
- Drive safely when on the road. Tickets and accidents where you're at fault increase how risky you are in the eyes of insurers.
- Raise your deductible. The higher the amount of damage you're on the hook for, the less likely an insurance policy will be required to pay out. We wouldn't recommend this one unless you like gambling, though.
- Make sure your bills are paid on time. Many insurers use an "insurance score" to determine certain factors, including cost, and it's weighted heavily towards paying your bills on time. Keep your credit score clean as well.
- Move. If you live in an area noted for high rates of auto theft, auto accidents, or other problems, you're likely going to be paying a higher rate solely because of where you happen to be. Even moving one county over can have some surprising effects on your insurance rates. You can even move to low-risk states... which we'll get to.
- Be a discount hawk. Insurers offer all sorts of discounts -- ranging from AAA membership discounts to veteran discounts to safe driver discounts. Ask what we've got available and what you qualify for; it's what we're here for.
- And finally, if you really just don't want to deal with all of this, you hate the paperwork, you don't want to compare quotes, move to New Hampshire, Wisconsin, or California. All three allow you to drive without having any car insurance whatsoever.
You might be wondering what the catch is, aside from having to live in those states. The catch is that you'll still need to prove you can cover damages, so you'll need to file a bond or give the state a five-figure deposit, in cash, to cover any liability.
See, isn't getting car insurance so much easier?
Remember, these stack. So, if you have a boring car that nobody wants that you drive as little as possible as safely as possible with a policy that has a high deductible with as many discounts as you can get in a place with the lowest rates of auto theft and accidents, you will have the lowest insurance rates you can get. Whether or not you’ll have any fun is another story...
Tags: safauto, safe auto, insurance rates
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There are many bad drivers out there on the road. Play It Safe with helpful tips, articles, videos, and of course, examples of what not to do. Brought to you by SafeAuto Insurance Company.